Cruising to the Cote d'Ivoire
Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d'Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the tropical African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil. On 25 December 1999, a military coup - the first ever in Cote d'Ivoire's history - overthrew the government led by President Henri Konan BEDIE. Junta leader Robert GUEI held elections in late 2000, but excluded prominent opposition leader Alassane OUATTARA, blatantly rigged the polling results, and declared himself winner. Popular protest forced GUEI to step aside and brought runner-up Laurent GBAGBO into power.
Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt in September 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and in January 2003 were granted ministerial positions in a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President GBAGBO and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord in December 2003 after a three-month stalemate, but issues that sparked the civil war, such as land reform and grounds for citizenship, remain unresolved.
The central government has yet to exert control over the northern regions and tensions remain high between GBAGBO and opposition leaders. Several thousand French and West African troops remain in Cote d'Ivoire to maintain peace and facilitate the disarmament, demobilization, and rehabilitation process.
Location: Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between
Ghana and Liberia
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Tropical along coast, semiarid in far north; three seasons - warm and dry (November to March), hot and dry (March to May), hot and wet (June to October)
Mostly flat to undulating plains; mountains in northwest
Lowest point: Gulf of Guinea 0 m
Cote d'Ivoire is among the world's largest producers and exporters of coffee, cocoa beans, and palm oil. Consequently, the economy is highly sensitive to fluctuations in international prices for these products and weather conditions. Despite government attempts to diversify the economy, it is still heavily dependent on agriculture and related activities, engaging roughly 68% of the population. Growth was negative in 2000-03 because of the difficulty of meeting the conditions of international donors, continued low prices of key exports, and severe civil war.
In November 2004, the situation deteriorated when President GBAGBO's troops attacked and killed nine French peacekeeping forces, and the UN imposed an arms embargo. Political turmoil damaged the economy in 2005, with fear among Ivorians spreading, foreign investment shriveling, French businesses and expats fleeing, travel within the country falling, and criminal elements that traffic in weapons and diamonds gaining ground.
The government will continue to survive financially off of the sale of cocoa, which represents 90% of foreign exchange earnings. Though the 2005 harvest was largely unaffected by past fighting, the government will likely lose between 10% and 20% of its cocoa harvest to northern rebels, who smuggle the cocoa they control to neighboring countries where cocoa prices are higher. The government remains hopeful that ongoing exploration of Cote d'Ivoire's offshore oil reserves will result in significant production that could boost daily crude output from roughly 33,000 barrels per day (b/d) to over 200,000 b/d by the end of the decade.
Airports: 35 (2005)
980 km (navigable rivers, canals, and numerous coastal lagoons) (2005)
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Abidjan, Aboisso, Dabou, San-Pedro
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region